Regulation of Mammary Gland Growth and Morphogenesis by the Mammary Fat Pad: A Species Comparison

  • Russell C. Hovey
  • Thomas B. Mcfadden
  • R. Michael Akers


The growth and morphogenesis of mammaryparenchyma varies substantially between species and isregulated by an array of systemic and local factors.Central to this regulation is the mammary fat pad, amatrix of adipose and connective tissue capable ofmediating hormone action and synthesizing an array ofgrowth regulatory molecules. In this article wehighlight differences between the morphologicaldevelopment of the mammary parenchyma in rodents, humans,and ruminant dairy animals, placing emphasis ondifferences in the cellular composition and structure ofthe mammary fat pad. While a great deal remains to be understood about the ability of stroma tolocally regulate mammary development, the significanceof its contribution is becoming increasingly apparent.The actions of several steroid and peptide hormones appear to be mediated by an array of growthfactors, proteases and extracellular matrix componentssynthesized by constituents of the mammary fat pad.Further, mammary adipose tissue represents a significant store of lipid which, by itself and through itsderivatives, could influence the growth of mammaryepithelium in diverse ways. This review describes theintegral role of the mammary fat pad duringmammogenesis, emphasizing the point that species differencesmust be addressed if local growth and morphogenicmechanisms within the mammary gland are to beresolved.



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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell C. Hovey
  • Thomas B. Mcfadden
  • R. Michael Akers

There are no affiliations available

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